Kookaburras thrash Scots in Games opener

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Anna Harrington / AAP News

 

An emphatic victory has started the Kookaburras quest for a seventh Commonwealth Games gold medal in the perfect fashion.

 

The Kookaburras have thrashed Scotland 12-0 in an ominous start to their bid for a seventh straight Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Jeremy Hayward scored four goals, with Tim Brand, Tom Wickham and Nathan Ephraums netting braces, while Blake Govers and Josh Simmonds also hit the scoreboard.

“We were a bit nervous to begin with, we hadn’t played Scotland that much. So we did our homework and planning and executed pretty well in the end,” Hayward said.

“We didn’t take them lightly at all, that’s probably why we did our planning and did our due diligence and did well today.”

The Australians opened their campaign at the University of Birmingham wary of a Scotland outfit that had drawn 5-5 with New Zealand first-up.

Scotland’s Andy Bull fired an early warning shot and it took nine minutes for Australia to open the scoring, courtesy of a wonderful drag flick from Govers.

But just four minutes later, they’d kicked on to a 3-0 lead courtesy of Brand and Hayward.

Australia powered out to a 6-0 lead at halftime, with Wickham scoring two in two minutes and Hayward adding his second from a penalty corner, but they didn’t rest on their laurels.

Instead, the Kookaburras delivered a four-goal blitz in the third quarter.

Brand and Simmonds scored in the space of three minutes.

Then Ephraums scored arguably the goal of the day, expertly swatting in a ball travelling at speed from Josh Beltz.

Hayward netted from a penalty corner to bring up his hat-trick and Australia’s 10th before the final change.

Ephraums and Hayward added two more goals in the final quarter to complete the rout.

For debutant Ephraums, who¬†became the 50th Kookaburra to score at a Games, the day couldn’t have gone any better.

“The first game for me in a Commonwealth Games, it was unreal to be a part of,” said Ephraums.

“It was a great atmosphere and experience here so far and to walk away with two goals is really awesome for me personally.”

Australia ar e next in action against New Zealand on Monday.

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